We sat down with the PA Announcer for the Stockton Kings, Thaddeus Davis.
Tell us about your responsibilities as the PA Announcer for the Stockton Kings.
So, I’m on the mic for everyone inside the building. I do everything from starting lineups and sponsorship reads throughout the game, to welcome and farewell messages, as well as calling the game throughout.
I really enjoy it. It’s something I never thought I would actually get to do, so I’m glad for the opportunity. It’s awesome to be able to sit courtside and center court for high quality basketball and feel like you’re actually a part of the game.
You’re an Account Manager for Premium Membership Services at the Sacramento Kings. What made you choose to get into being a PA as well?
I’ve always wanted to do something like this. This was a dream that I never thought was necessarily possible. I grew up in Oregon, so originally, the dream was to maybe be a Portland Trail Blazers PA announcer. Whenever I would go to games, whether they were here in Sacramento or anywhere else, I would listen for that stuff. Maybe other people just listen to the game, but I would always try to emulate starting lineups.
I would mess around in the office while watching games and practice my announcer voice. For anything that we did for our department—sales events or anything like that—I would be chosen to be the emcee or just get on the mic. So, when this idea came around that they were looking for PA announcers, Kavita [Dhillon] came to me and said, “I heard this is something you’d like to do.” So, she gave me and Nathan [Schlatter] –who I split duties with last year—the opportunity to send in audition tapes.
Nate and I made the videos up in his room and we were trying to mix our own music in it and just had fun with it. Then we submitted it and she said “yeah,” and we were like, “really…?” From that, I did the first game and sat with [Scott] Moak during a game [in Sacramento] and learned exactly what habits that he does and the tricks that help him make sure he doesn’t miss anything. The key is just to be accurate. No one really cares about how well you say things, but the names have to be pronounced correctly. The score needs to be recorded correctly. All those things need to be correct. That’s the number one thing.
After Stockton, I did my first game at Sac State because [Scott] Fresh[our] had referred me there. So, I started filling in at Sac State sporting events. I worked a couple of basketball games here and there and then was their primary baseball announcer last spring. I was just getting more and more ingrained into the PA world. Any opportunity that comes my way is a new hobby. I’m still very new at this, but the key is just picking up anything and everything I can. Moak has been a great mentor and resource for me in getting me where I am today.
The G-League is the stepping stone for players to hopefully get called up and play for the NBA, but it’s also a great way for employees to get their start. Do you have any long-term goals for yourself in this role?
I feel like “goals” is such like a career-oriented term. For me, this doesn’t feel like work. It’s just straight fun. My dream would be to be a PA announcer for an NBA team or an MLB team or maybe for all of them.
My theory is that if I just continue to have fun with it and take whatever comes my way, the more people will hear my voice and maybe give me even more opportunities. As long as I have fun and don’t say no, then who knows where this could take me?
I don’t have any expectations. I don’t do this expecting that I’ll be the next Sacramento Kings PA announcer because Moak does a great job and I’m not nearly as good as he is. The dream to do that one day is there, though.
How excited are you to be the PA for California Classic? What match-up are you most looking forward to calling?
I’m very excited. I mean, it’s probably going to be the biggest stage that I’ve announced in front of. When I take a step back and realize that… it’s definitely something I didn’t expect. Good on them for putting the resources into the G-League and developing the entertainment staff.
As for what match-up I’m most looking forward to… probably Kings versus Lakers because of the storied rivalry. Being able to say “Lakers” and “Kings” over the microphone is going to be pretty darn cool. Although it’s the Summer League rosters and it’s no longer the Chris Webber’s and the Shaq’s that I grew up watching, these are still people who are making big names for themselves. So, being able to say, “Harry Giles” and “Marvin Bagley” is also going to be pretty cool.
You were a Ticket Operations Intern back in the day. Can you talk about the impact that internship had on your job search and the overall importance of internships for students looking to find their professional path?
My internship with the Buccaneers was really great for two reasons.
First, it helped me in getting overall knowledge of the sports industry. Growing up, I always thought it was players, coaches, training staff, scouts, and that was it. I didn’t realize there was this huge network of people behind the scenes making everything operate. So, learning all those different departments that make the successful game day for Tampa Bay Buccaneers was eye-opening.
The second reason it was great for me is exactly what you said. It’s kind of a springboard for you to get a job after college. I tell people, “as long as you do a good job during your internship, once you’re in the sports world, you’re in it for good.” It’s so true what people say—everyone knows everybody. I was about to graduate and I went over to my internship supervisor and said, “Hey, I’d love a job in sports. Anything you can do to help me out? Here’s my resume.” And he sent it to all his contacts around the league—the hiring manager for the Kings being one of them. That’s how I got my start here.
During an internship, you have to be doing everything you can to learn. You will only get out of it what you put into it. If you just sit there on your computer and don’t talk to anybody, you’re probably not going to get tons out of it. But if you set up meetings with people and you’re really proactive and taking on new opportunities, then you’re probably going to get a lot out of it and it’s hopefully going to springboard you to a successful career.
Lastly, do you have any favorite moments from calling games last season for Stockton that stand out in your mind?
Yeah, I would say just opening night in general. I was pretty hyped to be there. It was the first ever game in Stockton for the Kings. It was a monumental moment for the franchise and taking a step back and realizing that I was a part of that is just awesome.
I announced the first ever starting lineup for Stockton Kings. It was fun because all my friends who knew that this is a dream and something I want to do, were there. So being able to finally be on the microphone for real and do something in front of these guys was so much fun. Vivek, Vlade, Peja, and the Mayor were there. So, the Kings were really behind it. I was just sitting there thinking, “This is a big deal…and I’m a part of it.”